Crossbow Law Divides New York Hunters

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This year New York took on the issue of crossbow hunting and in 2011 NY hunters will be able to use a crossbow to hunt in any season but the early bow season. Furthermore you can only use the crossbow for big game, predators and small game hunting are still banned. The law sunsets on December 31st 2012 for evaluation.

The Democrat and Chronicle has a detailed article running about the lengthy debate that went into passing the limited crossbow law.

The use of crossbows to hunt with in New York has been a contentious issue for decades. It reached another boiling point this year, putting hunters on both sides of the issue in each other's crosshairs at a time when participation numbers have dwindled and the cash-strapped conservation department is still reliant on license fees to pay for all wildlife programs.

With the passage of the NY crossbow law, Oregon is the only remaining state that completely bans the use of crossbows for hunting.

Comments

groovy mike's picture

good debate points

 

There are some good debate points in the prior comments.  I think the question of whether archery hunters will be negatively impacted by any negative affect to the deer herd is what it the pro or con crossbow debate is all about.  Everyone supports good herd management and everyone wants to make sure that they have as much opportunity as the next guy. 

 

The debate really has nothing to do with an advantage – that’s like someone with a traditional bow saying that compounds are unfair, or someone hunting with a single shot shotgun saying that side by sides are unfair.  It really doesn’t matter as long as the herd remains strong and everyone has a chance to fill their tag.  If there are a surplus of deer in a well managed herd everyone is happy regardless of what tool someone else uses. At least that’s the way that I see it – but maybe I am missing something?

jim boyd's picture

While I do not consider

While I do not consider myself an accomplished archery hunter, I do not genuinely feel that a crossbow is a great advantage.

Now - my experiences may not be the norm - but here is how it went for me...

I bow hunted for many years and loved it. I took many deer and although a big buck was never felled by one of my arrows, I had a great time.

I then decided to take it another step and went and bought a name brand crossbow.

I was only marginally more accurate with the cross bow than the compound... and the cocking of the crossbow before getting into a tree stand was a pain... and a follow up shot from the stand was a near impossibility. (I did not have a cocking winch on mine).

I used it for a year and went back to the compound.

It is a shame that the NY hunters found themselves at odds with one another and you can see the dilemma it presents for any state.

Heck, make it a $15 - 20 extra licenser fee and let everyone hunt with them...

I just do not feel that harvest rates are going to skyrocket - and it really helps the hunting industry as a whole... more products are sold, states can gain revenues - looks like a win/win to me...

Maybe I am all wet here - but that is my .02!

CVC's picture

I think you summed it up well

I think you summed it up well - I agree.

hawkeye270's picture

ECU wrote: "These crossbows

ECU wrote: "These crossbows are extremely more effective than a compound bow. Like you said, they are pre-cocked, so no drawing motion is needed. Also, most of these crossbows are eguipped with scopes nowadays. That is definitely an advantage. They'll rush out and get a crossbow because it is the easy thing to do. Sight the scope in at 20 yards...back up and shoot until the distance of the next ranging circle on the crosshairs is figured out and so on...Way easier, they don't have to keep in archery shape."

I agree with you on all fronts. I just can not understand how people believe that a crossbow is not more effective than a compound bow. That is just rediculous and I kind of think that people that claim that they don't have any advantage over a compound, actually don't believe it themselves but rather just like the idea of hunting with one (or allowing others to do so). Why were bows replaced in military applications when the crossbow was developed if they did not present an advantage over bows. Like I've said in the past, I have no problem with their use during firearm seasons (or by physically challenged hunters) but not during archery season.

CVC's picture

Define effective

How do you define more effective?  Many modern compounds have a greater fps than crossbows and a greater kinectic energy.  I think KE is one measure of effectiveness and therefore, based on that alone, the compound is more effective.

The other point is that a crossbow is just a tool like the compound.  I sincerely doubt that the average crossbow hunter can make shots that the average compound bow hunter can't make.  So I don't think my view is all that ridculous as you state.

When did the military use crossbows?  Are you talking about pre-firearm military and if so, what type of bows were available then - long bows?  In that case, yes a crossbow is more effective than a long bow, but so is a compound.

Answer me one question.  How does allowing crossbows during the archery season negatively impact your hunting experience?

CVC's picture

There is a lot of info out

There is a lot of info out there on the ballistics of the crossbow and the compound.  I gleaned this from one site to sum it up.  The bottom line was that both the compound bows and crossbows produced similar ballistic results.  Here is the link. http://www.bowhunting.net/artman/publish/TenPointCrossbows/Crossbow_Myths.shtml

 

Ca_Vermonster's picture

Sorry to shoot down your

Sorry to shoot down your thought CVC, but studies show that there is absolutely no difference in Velocity, force, and effective kill range between crossbows and compound bows.  Therefore, there would be no more of a concern for the people walking around in camo than there is during an existing bow season.  Too many of these archery hunters think that these things will reach out and kill something at 200 yards.  Also, given the fact that crossbows are more bulky and "clanky" than a standard compound bow, it will actually be less effective in a stalking situation.

The only benefit to the crossbow is that since it is already loaded and ready to shoot, there is very little movement to get into a shooting position and release the arrow.  With a compound, you have to raise the bow, as well as figure out the right time to come to full draw without being seen.

I don't see any negative affect to the deer herd, other than the fact that it may bring out more hunters into the woods.  But then again, if they didn't want to take up normal archery, who says they'll rush out and get a crossbow anyway?

ecubackpacker's picture

I believe you are looking at

I believe you are looking at out-dated studies. There is a huge difference in the effective range. Read the other post I made.

Or maybe it's that some good 'ol southern boyz know how to shoot.

200 yards, where did that come up in the conversation? I've never heard someone say they could shoot something at that distance with a crossbow.

Again, I disagree with your reasoning about the effectiveness of the crossbow. These crossbows are extremely more effective than a compound bow. Like you said, they are pre-cocked, so no drawing motion is needed. Also, most of these crossbows are eguipped with scopes nowadays. That is definitely an advantage.

They'll rush out and get a crossbow because it is the easy thing to do. Sight the scope in at 20 yards...back up and shoot until the distance of the next ranging circle on the crosshairs is figured out and so on...Way easier, they don't have to keep in archery shape.

Sorry, Ca_V but I disagree with just about all of your points. I have had too much experience with these modern crossbows...They aren't in the same league as a compound.

 

gatorfan's picture

I have a 7-pin sight on my

I have a 7-pin sight on my 2007 Bowtech Guardian.

They are set at 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, and 80 yards respectively.

They'll rush out and get a crossbow because it is the easy thing to do. Sight the scope in at 20 yards...back up and shoot until the distance of the next ranging circle on the crosshairs is figured out and so on...Way easier, they don't have to keep in archery shape.

Although I didn't "rush" out, I did use the same technique that you mention.

So, I ask again, what is the difference between the range of a modern compound bow and a crossbow?

Is the only hang-up that the crossbow can be "locked and loaded"?  If so, I welcome them to be able to hunt during the archery season!

ecubackpacker's picture

  Both can be shot to the

 

Both can be shot to the same distance, but the effective range is shorter for the majority of archers out here.  The difference is the "effective" range is a direct correlation of the ability of the archer to hold the bow on target and get a relaxed shot off before the archer begins to shake, something a crossbow hunter doesn't have concern himself with.  The crossbow isn't wavering back and forth because he/she can't hold the 150 lbs anymore. It's locked in the firing position being held by a trigger. They don't have to contend with the same issues an archer does. All they have to do is aim and pull the trigger.

It's obvious you're a better shot than the majority of hunters out here if you shoot deer at 80 yards on a regular basis. But you can't convince me that you can go 9 months without shooting, pick up the bow and shoot a deer at 80 yards. Every archer I know needs time to get in "archery" shape. A crossbow hunter can pick up his weapon and fire it to effective distances at a moments notice. It isn't much different than firing a rifle. As a matter of fact, anyone can pick up that crossbow and shoot it to it's maximum effective range. I couldn't pick up your bow and shoot a deer at 80 yards with it. Heck, I can't do it with my own bow.  

The difference is the person behind the trigger, assuming you use a release. If you don't shoot professionally, then you should start because that is one heck of a shot to shoot a deer at that distance. I mean that sincerely because I don't know too many bowhunt who can shoot to that distance and kill deer on a regular basis.

IMO, the crossbow offers an unfair advantage to the user.  The ease of use, greater effective range, the locking mechanism, the scope on top of the crossbow are the reasons I would list. It should only be legal during a firearms season. It's obvious we have differing opinions on this matter. It has been discussed around our hunting camp several times, but we all agree. Maybe it's an East/West thing.

gatorfan's picture

the "effective" range is a

the "effective" range is a direct correlation of the ability of the archer to hold the bow on target and get a relaxed shot off before the archer begins to shake, something a crossbow hunter doesn't have concern himself with.  The crossbow isn't wavering back and forth because he/she can't hold the 150 lbs anymore. It's locked in the firing position being held by a trigger. They don't have to contend with the same issues an archer does. All they have to do is aim and pull the trigger.

Ah, now I see where you are coming from.  You see, my defenition of "effictive" range is the range that the weapon of choice can effectively and humanely kill.  The effect I am looking for with my arrow is to kill the animal with the minimum amout of suffering to said animal.

It's obvious you're a better shot than the majority of hunters out here if you shoot deer at 80 yards on a regular basis.

That's just it, I don't do it on a regular basis (shoot deer at that range).  I only shot one deer at that range and that was because I was extremely confident with that bow (2005 Mathews Switchback).  I'm not as confident with my Guardian so, although I regularly practice to 80 yards, I wouldn't shoot at a game animal past 60 yards.

I don't know too many bowhunt who can shoot to that distance and kill deer on a regular basis.

Neither do I, but I know a few.

But you can't convince me that you can go 9 months without shooting, pick up the bow and shoot a deer at 80 yards.

I might be able to do it once or twice lol But, I agree; in order to be able to shoot at any distance consistently, you need to practice!  Similarly, I don't know too many rifle hunters that don't practice their precision during the off season.  I would assume that there is some level of practice required to be consistant with a crossbow.

By the way, I didn't mention the fact that I shot a deer at 82 yards to brag, I did it to solidify the fact that a compound bow can be "effective" at ranges equal or beyond that of a crossbow.

CVC's picture

But can't all the things you

But can't all the things you say about the crossbow in your last paragraph be made when comparing the compound bow to the long bow? 

ecubackpacker's picture

No, locking mechanism for

No, locking mechanism and scopes for compound bows are illegal in NC, as they should be.

 

CVC's picture

Okay, I think your avoiding

Okay, I think your avoiding the point.  First, some states do allow optics for bows.  But the point is doesn't the person who shoots a compound have a distinct advantage iover a person shooting the long bow?  It takes less time and practice to shoot longer distances with the compound, with the letoff, you're only holding 20% of the bow's weight instead of 100% like the long bow so you can hold at full draw longer.  The compound is faster, can  be equipped with a drop away rest to improve accuracy and speed and has a farther effective distance for the average hunter.

So with all the advantages over the long bow should the compound be allowed during archery season?

Ca_Vermonster's picture

I can do this all day.  Here

I can do this all day.  Here is another great link.  It talks about how the crossbow is 2 to 3 times heavier, so it is very cumbersome for hunting situations.

http://www.drawloc.com/content/crossbow-vs-compound-bow

Look, we can argue this till the end of time, and all it's going to do is rack up our points totals.  I am backing out of this thread now, because it's going nowhere.

gatorfan's picture

we can argue this till the

we can argue this till the end of time, and all it's going to do is rack up our points totals.

And for while, it seemed like this was actually a pretty decent and civil debate over a hunting topic.  I must have missed something in the intent!?!

ecubackpacker's picture

I agree, Ca_V.

I agree, Ca_V.

CVC's picture

Ca....I've got to ask, did

Ca....I've got to ask, did you read my post?  You didn't use the quote feature, but your post pretty much says the exact same thing as my post.  No where in my post did I suggest that there was really a difference between the two and in fact said they were almost identical except one was precocked.

Go back and reread my post and you'll see we are saying the ame thing. 

Ca_Vermonster's picture

Sorry CVC, but this thread

Sorry CVC, but this thread has gone in so many directions, I can't even tell what post you are referring to.  I may have repeated what you said, and you have repeated what I said, and everyone is talking back and forth with no end in sight.  I am just going to back out and move on. Wink

gatorfan's picture

OK, I'll admit my ignorance

OK, I'll admit my ignorance to this subject.

What is the issue with using a crossbow?

Here in California, you can't use a crossbow during the archery season but you can during the rifle season.  Is it because of the accuracy?  Do they shoot much faster than the newer "speed" bows?  How far do these things fling an arrow (bolt)? 

I have heard that the arrows don't really go that much farther than an arrow out of a modern bow.  But, without knowing anyone that uses one, I know very little about them.

Anyone on here use a crossbow that can answer these questions?

CVC's picture

The issue is that using

The issue is that using crossbows during archery season offends the sensibility of the elitest archer who believes that the use of crossbows violates the sanctity and purity of archery....but the real issue is that they don't want to share the woods.

The reason states are looking at allowing crossbows is to increase participation.  Increased participation means increased competition for hunting spots.  This is the real reason they are opposed, at least in my opinion.

The only difference between a crossbow and a modern compound is that the crossbow is pre-cocked.  Everything else is pretty much the same including pulling a trigger to release the arrow.  Distance and speed and method of hunting are almost identical.

I don't hunt with a crossbow and most likely never will.  I will stick with the compound, but I also want to provide more opportunitites for hunters.

groovy mike's picture

you have summed up the argument

CVC – I think you have summed up the argument pretty accurately right there.

gatorfan's picture

elitest archer who believes

elitest archer who believes that the use of crossbows violates the sanctity and purity of archery

I think the "elitist archer" is the one toting the long bow through the woods and will have just as much of an issue with someone that uses a compound bow as he would with someone using a crossbow.

but the real issue is that they don't want to share the woods

Could be, but why?  That's why I keep asking about the difference in range.  If there is very little, if any, difference in the ranges of a compound and crossbow, why would a rifle hunter give up his/her tag for an opportunity with a crossbow?  I'm beginning to think that it is only because the crossbow is pre-loaded.

I guess I poked the hornet's nest here but, honestly, that was my intention.  I am really interested in why one hunter would look down on someone elses method of hunting (not that any of you are) or why there is so much opposition to using a crossbow..

 

CVC's picture

You are quite right.  There

You are quite right.  There are traditional archers that do look down upon the compound bow as ruining the sport of archery.  The reason someone who is normally a rifle hunter might pick up the crossbow is for the opportunity to hunt during the rut.  In some states, the rut falls during archery season.

The ability of the hunter and the terrain will keep work to keep shots pretty close whether with a crossbow or compound bow, but both will have a much farther effective range than a stick bow.

ecubackpacker's picture

I beg to differ about "The

I beg to differ about "The only difference between a crossbow and a modern compound is that the crossbow is pre-cocked.  Everything else is pretty much the same including pulling a trigger to release the arrow.  Distance and speed and method of hunting are almost identical."

There is a huge, almost astronomical, difference in the high end crossbows and modern bows. I have friends shooting crossbows to more than 75 yards. Not only this, but they are shooting 4" groups at 75 yards. Maybe you can shoot 4" groups at 5 yards with that Z-7, but I know I can't. That's better than most percussion or flint lock muzzleloaders, so yea there is a huge difference in performance.

I, personally, don't agree with the crossbows being used during the regular archery season because of the above reason. They want to use them during the rifle or shotgun season is fine with me, just not during archery season.

See, archery season used to be combined with muzzy season in our state. They called it a primitive weapons season. It included recurve, compound and percussion or flint-lock muzzleloaders, inline muzzleloaders weren't invented then. IMO it should stay that way. Crossbows, today, have out advance the modern compound bow. If they want to use them during firearms season, that's fine.

Another fact about crossbows, at least in NC, is you are required to get a pistol permit from the sheriff's office before buying a crossbow. They apparantly believe they are more capable than a compound bow.

It should be a good debate, but I would vote against any bill allowing them for use during archery season.

Ca_Vermonster's picture

Sorry Ecu, not to argue with

Sorry Ecu, not to argue with you being an expert, but go ahead and google "Crossbow effective range hunting" and look at the results.  Every single one of them says essentially it's 40-50 yards, MAX.  Don't look at what guys can shoot arrows 75 yards into a 4" group.  They do that on a range or in their backyards.  That's only going to help you in a hunting situation if you are in a field or wide open spot.  I could post many, many comparisons.  Here is one for starters.  It shows that modern compound bows beat a Horton crossbow in both feet per second, and foot pounds of energy.  That is just the very first study I click on.  I could go on and on.  Fact is, there is little to no difference in the 2 other than the fact that it is "cocked and locked"

http://www.huntersfriend.com/products/archery/crossbows/performance.html

 

ecubackpacker's picture

I never said I was an expect,

I never said I was an expect, you said that.  I said I disagree with your points because of my experiences.

This is from the link of the website you posted, " SKILL & ETHICAL STANDARDS:  Ultimately, the final answer is up to YOU.  A crossbow bolt is surely lethal at 50, 75, perhaps even 100+ yards, but only if you can control it.  With a little practice, an average crossbow shooter will be able to place shots accurately out to 30 or 40 yards with little regard for loss of arrow trajectory, changes in ground elevation, or compensation for wind conditions."

Part of my point is being able to control the weapon to make a humane kill on an animal. The crossbow is easier to control to make longer shots.

Next quote, "Don't look at what guys can shoot arrows 75 yards into a 4" group.  They do that on a range or in their backyards.  That's only going to help you in a hunting situation if you are in a field or wide open spot."

Why wouldn't you look at the capabilities of this weapon? Here again, it gets back to the unfair advantage. They do this on deer on a regular basis in the woods, some out to 100 yards. Most everywhere I hunt, I can shoot a 100 yards or more even when hunting the woods.

CVC's picture

I don't shoot 75 yards

I don't shoot 75 yards because of the range not having targets that far, but I am consistent out to 60 yards with my compound bow.  But let's set that aside and focus on real-life hunting.  With the exception of hunting out west or shooting into a cut agriculture field, there are really few instances where a compound bow shooter or a crossbow shooter will be taking very long shots.  Most shots are with in 20-30 yards because of the environment, trees, brush, etc.

The question I have is how does allowing crossbows during archery season negatively impact your ability to safely hunt or to enjoy your hunt?

CVC's picture

Decisions like whether to use

Decisions like whether to use crossbows should be made based upon science and fact, not conjecture and emotion.  So, with the number of states that allow crossbows during archery season, there should be ample data to make a decision on the merits of allowing it.

Two driving questions for me is, is there a safety concern for hunters and two is there the potential for a detrimental effect on herd population and quality.  If the answer to these two questions is no, then there is no reason not to allow crossbows during archery season.

Instead of crossbows, substitute firearms and ask the question.  The answer to both are yes.  Hunters in camo hunting with bows would be endangered by rifle hunters during archery season and yes, too many deer would be taken over the long archery season.  Since the answer to these questions is yes, firearms should not be used during archery season.

This is how the debate should go, but instead it is driven by emotion and is really a turf battle in some cases.

ecubackpacker's picture

Now, you know enough about

Now, you know enough about politics to know that isn't how new laws are enacted. Science has nothing to do with these laws.

I don't know how the Kansas wildlife commissioners are appointed, but in NC, they are appointed by the Governer.  Most contribute huge amounts of money to the Governers campaign and that is how they are repaid, with an appointment. They preside over the governing of wildlife even though most of them don't have the foggiest idea about what they are doing.

New laws are pushed for by lobbying groups. Who is friends with some of these lobbist, the commissioners. Politics at it's best. How do these lobbying groups come about? They're hired by the manufacturers to push for expanded seasons to increase sales. If they are allowed during the regular archery season, they know their sales will increase, which they have. They have been a part of the regular firearms season for a couple of years, but who is going to hunt with a crossbow during firearms season, unless he/she is a diehard crossbow hunter.

Bottom line is, these seasons are being pushed for by the manufacturers of these crossbows because the sales didn't increase when accepted for use during the firearms seasons.

CVC's picture

You're right, there is a huge

You're right, there is a huge difference between how it should be done and how it is actually done in the real world.  We would not be having this discussion if, as you said, the crossbow manufacturers were not pushing it.  Simple economics.  More hunting opportunities for crossbow hunters the more crossbows that will be sold.

Still, it doesn't bother me because I've not figured out how as an bow hunter I am hurt.  But I see strength in numbers so the more hunters the better we are as a group. 

Not an argument you made, but one that I have heard is that crossbow hunters are lazy.  Well, I don't shoot a stick bow because I do not want to make the committment to shoot one accurately so I opt to shoot the compound which still takes practice, just not as much.  Some shoot the crossbow because they don't want to put in the hours to learn how to shoot the compound accurately so who am I to fault them?

Again, I go back to supporting hunting opportunities for hunters and until someone explains why allowing a crossbow during archery season negatively impacts me I will support their use.

ecubackpacker's picture

I guess you would be OK

I guess you would be OK with your obnoxious neighbor hunting with a crossbow in a stand next to yours when that 170" monster buck walks by at 70 yards...you can't shoot him because he is too far and your neighbor nails the buck. So, from now until enternity, you have to listen to him gloat about the buck you couldn't shoot. Wouldn't bother you, it would me.  

Something that hasn't been mentioned yet, but earlier this year, there were rumors of poachers using crossbows to take deer at night during the early archery season in NC. I haven't been able to comfirm this, but the word has been circulating the neighborhood. It will come out if someone is doing this as they will be caught eventually.

gatorfan's picture

I don't know if you just

I don't know if you just threw a random number out there or not, but 70 yards is not out of reach for a modern compound.  I routinely practice out to 80 yards and with my last bow, was very confident at that range.  As a matter of fact, I shot my first bow-killed deer at 82 yards.  The arrow center-punched the heart and stopped on the off-side leg.

That's why I asked the question about the range of a crossbow.

CVC's picture

I just googled about crossbow

I just googled about crossbow range and found some info.  They compared the crossbow to a compound bow and the compound bow actually had slightly more KE.  The two are pretty similar.

gatorfan's picture

My reply was to ecubackpacker

My reply was to ecubackpacker

CVC's picture

Let's just switch it up a bit

Let's just switch it up a bit ....would you be ok if you were a long bow hunter and your neighber hunting with a brand new high speed compound bow, optic sight and release killed a monster buck at 60 yards when with your stick bow your effective range is only 20 yards?

So, if your scenario is a reason not to allow crossbows, then mine is a reason not to allow compounds?

Honestly, it wouldn't bother me and I'd be happy for him.   

ecubackpacker's picture

Oh, come on, I could shoot to

Oh, come on, I could shoot to 30 yards when I shot a recurve.

Actually, I'd be fine because he had to go about practicing and hunting in the same manner as I did. He couldn't pick his bow up after 9 months and shoot an animal at that distance. He would have to practice some to get back into bow shape. He had to endure the struggles of holding the bow with resistance while aiming. The hardest thing the crossbow hunter has to do is cock the bow, which most come with a manual cocking mechanism now.

I guess you and I will disagree on this subject.

 

CVC's picture

Yep, we'll just agree to

Yep, we'll just agree to disagree on this one. Good discussing it with you.

groovy mike's picture

revenues for a new license.

Jim you make a great point about the revenues for a new license.  

 

 No one is going to dispute that New York State can use all the revenue it can get!